The Canadian lacrosse community lost a truly influential figure on Monday, as Dave Huntley, 60, a man that impacted an entire generation of players and coaches, passed away in Florida.
It is with heavy hearts that we extend our sincerest condolences in this difficult time to his wife, Nancy, and two children, Kevin and Michelle, as well as his extended family and his friends.
Huntley, a native of Toronto, Ont., was a driving force behind the evolution of field lacrosse in Canada over the past four decades. He helped shape the national team program into an international powerhouse, winning three gold medals along the way.
He was involved, as a player, coach or manager, with every senior men’s world championship team since 1978.
As a player for Canada at the 1978 FIL World Lacrosse Championships in England, he helped guide them to a thrilling overtime victory over the U.S. to capture his country’s first ever gold medal. He rejoined the team four years later, in 1982, and brought home bronze.
He transitioned to coaching once his playing days were over, and was on Canada’s coaching staff for five consecutive world championships, from 1986 to 2010, including as head coach in 2006 when Canada won gold on home soil in London, Ont.
More recently, Huntley was the men’s field program director for Canada at the 2014 World Championship in Denver, where he helped select the coaching staff and players that eventually triumphed over the U.S. to capture yet another gold medal.
While his personal accomplishments and accolades were numerous, Huntley will be most remembered for his good character and kind-hearted nature. He was a well-respected man who was extremely passionate about the game of lacrosse and cared deeply about the people that were involved with it.
An outpouring of love and admiration from members of the lacrosse community have flooded social media since news of his sudden passing were made public last night, which are recapped in the articles below.
Huntley grew up playing box lacrosse, but found his true calling in the field game.
He was a standout midfielder at John Hopkins University in the 1970s, helping the Blue Jays capture the NCAA Division I national championship twice, in 1978 and 1979. He was named a three time All-American and also took home the McLaughlin Award as the nation’s top midfielder during his senior season.
An impactful player on the field, Huntley’s tremendous technical knowledge of the game and his player-first coaching style helped him craft a successful career behind the bench and on the sidelines at both the collegiate and professional ranks.
He began his National Lacrosse League (NLL) coaching career with the Philadelphia Wings in 1987, and worked in various capacities with several other franchises, both behind the bench and in the front office, over the next 10 seasons.
He also coached Major League Lacrosse for eight seasons, capturing a league title with the Baltimore Bayhawks in 2005 and Toronto Nationals in 2009. He was named an assistant coach for the Atlanta Blaze when the team joined the league in 2016, and took over as head coach mid way through their first season.
A resident of Towson, Md., Huntley previously served as assistant coach for Loyola University and was the longtime offensive coordinator for nationally ranked Calvert Hall High School.
His successes on the field and the sidelines were recognized by his peers in 2011, when he was inducted into both the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame and the US National Lacrosse Hall. He is also a member of the Johns Hopkins Athletic Hall of Fame.
Huntley was a teacher and a mentor, and had a positive impact on so many people in the lacrosse community. His legacy will continue to live on through the players, coaches and administrators that had the privilege of learning from him over the years.
The Canadian Lacrosse Association, along with its national team program coaches and athletes, are forever grateful for his leadership.